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Kimball, Minnesota
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August 13, 2009     Tri-County News
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August 13, 2009
 

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Pa e 12 Cd '~ll'll't ~ 1111~ ~ t~1" " Thursday, August 13, 2009 v'---'-'------'-~'--a.t,~ ............... - .... Tri-Coun News*!(!mb~L MN i Potato Head ............ summer blues far this summer. The average for this same period.for the past five years is 1,500. In 2004 we had it worse with only 1,152 and in 2006 we had a warm summer with 1,676 growing-degree days. It has been a great summer for low air condi- tioning bills, cool weather crops and flowers. It has been not so good for corn, tomatoes, peppers and melons. For example, most tomatoes will need between 1,500 and 2,200 GDDs to ripen. So, now you can stop wondering why your green tomatoes are staying green so long. Growing degree day measure- ments tend to be very localized. You may find you get more or fewer heat units in your garden than your next door neighbor, depend- ing on howyour garden is sited and how much sun it gets. It can even vary in different locations within your garden. Planting a garden for maximum southern exposure and maximum sunlight ensures you'll get the maximum heat available. Is there anything we could do to hurry the ripening process along? Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do but wait for the warmth. This week's weather will really help. For each day with a high of 85 and a low of 65 degrees we will gain 25 GDDs. Those green tomatoes will ripen. My watermel- ons, however, might just be a lost cause. If you have gardening questions or suggestions for Mr. Potato Head please e-mail him at . Mr. Potato Head is Stearns County Master Gardener and Kim- ball resident Rick Ellis. Gardening success and the weather go hand in hand. Usually we worry about rain because it is easy to see when we have too much or too little. Temperature, my friends, also can be a problem. I am just back from the Master Gardener's Conference at the University of Minnesota and almost everyone was talking about how the cool weather has impacted their gardens. It has been good for the flowers but hard on the vegetables. If you've wondered why some years your garden grows better than others, it probably has a lot to do with growing-degree days. Growing-degree days is simply a way of measuring how much heat your garden gets during each day. Each plant has its own require- ments as to how much heat it takes to germinate, grow and ripen. Some plants, such as corn and tomatoes, take much more heat to reach maturity than say lettuce or green beans. Growing-degree days, usually abbreviated to GDDs, can be mea- sured many different ways, but the simplest and most common is to add together the high and low temperature of the day, divide by two, and anything over a thresh- old of 50 is considered a growing- degree day. So if the high temper- ature of the day is 60, and the low is 46, when added together you get 106. Divided by two you get 53, which gives you three GDDs. So, you ask, just exactly how cool has it been this summer? Well, Mr. Potato Head can tell you pretty exactly. If you planted your gar- den on May 20 this year you have had 1,215 growing-degree days so www.tricou ntynews. M N Carl F. Hoffmaa U of M Extension horticulturist ::)i ii:: Time to renovate raspberries Armed forces family fishing Most summer-bearing rasp- canes left in the row after renova- berry plants are through produc- ing and a few of the fall-bearing varieties are starting to ripen. In most cases, raspberry plants pro- duced a good crop of fruit over an extended period of time. Now it is time to renovate the patch and prepare for a good crop of easy-to- harvest berries for next year. Left unchecked, a summer- bearing red raspberry patch can become an unproductive, unat- tractive thicket in a short time. An overcrowded raspberry plant- ing produces small, poorly fla- vored, crumbly fruit. In addition, the decreased sunlight and air cir- culation that results from over- crowding increases the likeli- hood of fungal disease, including anthracnose and spur blight. Annual renovation of your summer-bearing raspberry plants will keep them at their productive, healthy best. Although raspberries can be renovated any time from late summer after harvest is fin- ished until late March of the fol- lowing year, late summer renova- tion often results in slightly more vigorous canes and larger fruit. If plant hardiness is a concern and canes may be lost to winter dam- age, March renovation is prefera- ble. To renovate, simply remove all canes that have already produced fruit and then thin all broken or weak first-year canes. Those canes that have fruited are easy to spot at this stage as they have numer- ous side branches. These canes will die soon anyway, and remov- ing them to the ground will help prevent disease and give the new canes room to grow. The first year canes, on the other hand, are rel- atively unbranched. A common recommendation is to leave four to six canes per foot of row or six or seven canes per hill in the hill system, but the actual number of tion is unimportant as long as they are sturdy, healthy and have room to grow. Do not cut back the cane tips until the following spring when you can determine die-back and winter damage. Never cut off more than 25 percent of the tip of the cane to avoid lowering the yield. After thinning the old, weak, and broken canes, check your row width. Raspberry rows should be no wider than 12 inches in order to maximize light penetration and air circulation. Removing canes that grow outside the 12-inch width requires frequent attention, but it results in a healthy, easy-to- harvest patch. Summer is not a good time to fertilize raspberries and it is wise to wait until early spring to apply nitrogen. Summer, however, is a good time to add mulch to the existing mulch or, if you have not mulched your raspberries, put about six inches of straw, hay, pine needles, compost or other organic material between the rows. If you wish to harvest two crops per year, fall-bearing cul- tivars of raspberries, like Heri- tage, Redwing, Autumn Bliss or Autumn Britten, can be renovated as described for summer-bearing raspberries. However, the canes that produced the fall crop should not be removed as they will pro- duce fruit the following summer. Prune them back in the spring to the last node that produced fruit. To maximize yield from fall- bearing raspberries and to avoid many disease and insect prob- lems, cut all the canes to about two inches from the soil surface in late fall when plants are dormant or in early spring before growth resumes. You will harvest ripe ber- ries only in the fall, but the yield will be greater and the quality of the berries will be better. celebration This is a free event for military families. Fishing for Life and the Twin Cities Chapter of Muskies, Inc. will conduct a free fishing tournament for military families Friday, Aug. 21, at Maynard's on Lake Min- netonka. The Armed Forces Fam- ily Fishing Celebration is open to youth with a currently deployed family member, and to families of Armed Services members who have recently returned from active duty. The day will kick off at 6 a.m., with registration and a free con- tinental breakfast. Opening cer- emonies at 7 a.m. will include a color guard presentation by the Boy Scouts of America. The tour- nament, which runs from 7:45 a.m. until noon, will give families the opportunity to fish with vol- unteer boat guides, as well as fish from shore. Equipment and bait will be provided for families who do not have their own. Trophies and prizes will be awarded in sev- eral categories. A free picnic lunch will be pro- vided by Maynard's. The event wraps up with closing ceremonies at 12:45 p.m. Pre-registration is required. To register for the event, please send an e-mail to , or call (763) 245-9829, by Aug. 14. Fishing for Life is a non-profit organization and one of 30 Anchor Agencies in the U.S., working to promote youth fishing. More infor- mation can be found at . Additional sponsors for this event include Maynard's, Fra- bill, Operation Military Kids, and the Minn. Department of Natural Resources. HENDRICKSON ell Oriil,n ater ts our " 14311 55TH St.. NW Annandale, MN 20+Years in Well and Pump Service Call "Roilie" 320-274-3856 Cell 320-980-1212 KIMBALL CHIROPRACTIC ~ . Massage ;.~:~:~; .;:. ,, ,, . '~. Mlcnael L,. tvtart Work mlury : i.~::! .Person injury i~;iii :i Oont live :, wffn pain i Spinal rehab :~:. ~!ii:i.ii ... ....... ~.: :?~ Call TOOAY! [320) 398-7900. 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